Hastings Law Journal


Jerome Hall


Chief Justice Traynor was preeminent as a judge in part because he was also a legal scholar. The qualities that distinguished his method become clear upon careful analysis of the opinions he authored. This Article explores his opinions in several areas of criminal law to illustrate those qualities. The Article first examines Justice Traynor's thorough approach when deciding whether to change the law, illustrating that approach with a famous case on false pretenses. It then discusses the development, through a series of opinions, of Justice Traynor's views on felony murder. The Article discusses the reasons behind his opinion allowing the defense of diminished capacity for intoxication and the ramifications for current California law. The Article concludes this series of Articles on Justice Traynor's work with a discussion of the honors paid him by others and a personal tribute from an old colleague and friend.

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